Abandoned locations almost always have a creepy aura about them. Just consider Holy Land USA, a faith-based amusement park in Waterbury, Conn., that has fallen into utter ruins. Today, the once-sought after Bible-inspired dioramas and attractions are cracked and tattered — and they have remained that way since the tourist attraction closed to the public in 1984.
Originally founded by a local lawyer named John Greco in 1955, the 19-acre property quickly became a popular vacation destination. The goal was to build a spot that would entertain families, while also teaching them about Christianity and the Bible — an eventual success. But after three decades of popularity, the tourist attraction closed up shop for renovations. Unfortunately, it never re-opened.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Daily Mail reports that between 40,000 and 50,000 Americans went to Holy Land USA annually. While the location was inevitably placed in the care of nuns after folding, it quickly fell into disrepair and continues to sit eerily untouched. Here’s how Roadside America describes the current conditions:
Some buildings in the miniature city appear to have been yanked up out of the ground or pushed down on top of other structures. The giant fiberglass Bible has disappeared, the “Garden of Eden” is picked clean, the Catacombs entrance is blocked by a church pew (you’d be nuts to go down there anyway), and nearly every statue has been decapitated. The “actual photo” of Christ exhibit is now just a warped and water-stained piece of plywood (although it does look a bit like Him). With each visit, less and less of the park remains.
While the location has served as a fascinating remnant of the past to some and a dilapidated nuisance to others, concerns over safety are hard to dismiss. With no one standing guard over the property, many people have explored the grounds, taking pictures and video. In 2010, the darkest blemish on Holy Land USA’s reputation unfolded when a girl was raped and murdered at the location.
Tragically, this horrific crime, which took the life of 16-year-old Chloe Ottman, occurred at the foot of a giant cross on the grounds. Naturally, questions re-emerged about what should be done with the land, which is valued at $1.24 million and is currently owned by the Religious Teachers Filippini, a Catholic order.
Watch an old tour of the grounds, below:
And here’s a more updated look:
For now, the future of the park is uncertain.
(H/T: Daily Mail)